That dreaded eighth inning
The Texas Rangers had a chance to leave Seattle with a three-game sweep of the Mariners and make a statement in the AL West; that this team was going to take control of the division and run with it.
What happened instead was losing the first and third game of the series thanks to implosions in the bullpen.
Neal Cotts blew a 3-2 lead, giving up four runs in the eighth inning. The Rangers got two back against Fernando Rodney in the ninth, but couldn’t keep the rally going, losing 6-5.
Two days later, after a terrific 2014 debut for Matt Harrison, who gave up just two runs through six innings, Alexi Ogando blew a 5-3 lead, giving up three runs in the dreaded eighth inning and they would drop another 6-5 game.
Cotts is not having the kind of season he had when he was one of the Rangers most reliable relievers in 2013 and neither has Ogando. This team can’t afford to be losing games after terrific performances by their starting pitchers. It has to make you wonder how these games, and future games, would go if the Rangers had someone like Tanner Scheppers in that eighth inning role instead of having him on the disabled list thanks to a failed attempt at making him a starter.
These aren’t games this team should be losing, especially when your offense is showing up and putting runs on the board. Runs that usually are enough to give this team a win.
If they start losing games in the eighth inning, will it matter how many runs are on the board? It was the offense last season, it was the offense early in this season, now it’s something the Rangers can’t afford.
The Mavericks weren’t listening
The Dallas Mavericks weren’t supposed to be in this series. In fact, the San Antonio Spurs were supposed to walk through this series like they had in the previous 10 match ups against the team from Dallas. How many people expected, after three games, that it would be the Mavericks who would lead this series two games to one?
And who would have thought, when the last second shot came down to a decision as to who would make said shot, it would be Vince Carter who would knock down a huge three pointer as time expired? Not Dirk Nowitzki. Not Monta Ellils. Vinsanity himself.
How big will that shot be when this series comes to an end? Can the Mavericks really do the unthinkable and send the Spurs home early? If you ask them, they’d tell you they weren’t listening to anyone else’s opinion. They were taking care of business on the court and not in the papers or on the radio.
The Stars throw it away
They had it. Three minutes and a little defense was all they needed and they couldn’t get it done. Give the Anaheim Ducks credit no matter how much you hate them. They scored two goals in the final three minutes of regulation to tie the score, 4-4. Then, in overtime, they delivered the final knockout blow to send the Stars home and the Ducks on to the next round.
It was the biggest gut punch when it seemed the Stars were about to force a decisive game seven. It was theirs for the taking, but they couldn’t close the deal.
Just a tough sports weekend in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. But, hey, at least the Dallas Mavericks are still in the playoffs. For now.